Coronavirus: Second Wave and Second Failure for the Government?

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Is the second wave of the coronavirus a failure of Emmanuel macron and the government

EPIDEMIC: The opposition accuses the executive of not having anticipated enough the new second wave of the coronavirus epidemic in France

  • Faced with the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the executive is preparing to make “difficult decisions”.
  • The government could announce a tightening of the curfew or a new lockdown in the coming hours.
  • The opposition accuses the executive of not having sufficiently anticipated the new wave of the epidemic.

The government in a hurry to react. Faced with the rapid spread of the coronavirus on French territory at the start of this autumn, the executive is preparing to make “difficult decisions”. Emmanuel Macron met on Tuesday a Defense Council on the Covid-19 epidemic, the first in a series of meetings on the crisis. At the end of the afternoon, Jean Castex received the political leaders then the social partners to discuss “the hardening envisaged”.

But faced with this new wave and the possibility of a reconfinement, the criticisms are fired. Right and left blame the government for its “lack of foresight” and “lack of anticipation”.

“The relaxation was too important”

On June 14, the Head of State turned “the page of the first act of the crisis” , evoking “a first victory against the virus”. “We will therefore be able to rediscover the pleasure of being together, of fully resuming work but also of having fun, of cultivating ourselves. We will partly rediscover our art of living, our taste for freedom. In short, we are going to fully recover France, ”he said during a televised address.

The indicators are then down and the government encourages the French to go on vacation to the four corners of France. Premature optimism? “We let the French circulate, but there was too much mixing – while the virus had not disappeared – under the pretext of reviving the economy. The relaxation was too important, because some thought that the vague state behind us, regrets Annie Chapelier, deputy of Gard passed from LREM to the Agir group. An argument swept away by a framework of the majority: “The extent of the second wave surprises everyone. But I don’t think it’s related to what happened in June-July. The rise in contamination in October is more linked to back-to-school behavior. ”

“If we announced a reconfinement three weeks ago, we would have had the revolution! “

From August 20, the Directorate General of Health warns that the epidemic is on the rise. On September 9, the President of the Scientific Council Jean-François Delfraissy evokes “a very rapid, exponential increase” in the number of cases and urges the government to take “difficult decisions”. It is quickly reframed by Emmanuel Macron . “The scientific council is in its role, which is technical”, he assures, but it is up to the “democratically elected” leaders to “take decisions […] without giving in to any panic whatsoever”.

To encourage economic recovery, the executive maintains its strategy of “living with the virus”. But the increase in intensive care admissions forced him to take ever more restrictive measures, until the announcement of the curfew extended to 54 departments on October 22nd. Would he have waited too long?

“With each decision, we are attacked by the opposition, we have demonstrations, legal appeals… If we announced a reconfinement three weeks ago, we would have had the revolution! », Castigates the leader of LREM senators, François Patriat. “So the government took action as it went. And we will grope like that until the vaccine, like all countries, because the virus is unknown. Even the Scientific Council is sailing by sight, ”adds this close to the Head of State.

“There is no right solution because a reconfinement would have dramatic consequences on our economy. And, beyond that, moral and psychological consequences for the French, ”adds Erwan Balanant, MoDem deputy from Finistère. The idea of ​​a toughening of health measures or even a re-containment has nevertheless gained ground among many politicians from all sides in recent days .

A lack of anticipation in hospitals?

The executive is also attacked for his “lack of preparation” while Emmanuel Macron promised on July 14th that France would be “ready” for a second wave. Several experts have thus pointed to flaws in the strategy for tracing infected people . The Head of State himself admitted errors in September , especially in terms of tests, while the access and results times have often lengthened in large metropolitan areas. The opposition also accuses the government of not having learned any lessons from the first wave in hospitals, in particular on the capacity of resuscitation beds .

“Nothing was put in place in hospitals after the crisis, while caregivers are on the knees. Today we find the same problems as during the first crisis: the difficulties surrounding the tests, the lack of responsiveness of the ARS [regional health agencies], administrative delays, ”lists the elected Annie Chapelier, also an anaesthetist nurse. “Of course, hospitals anticipate better at the local level, but there was no national policy, and today we find ourselves overwhelmed.”

At the Ministry of Health, we recognize some “difficulties”, in particular on “congestion phenomena concerning the tests in September”. “But we identified the problem, and it got better,” we answer. “Regarding intensive care beds, we went from 5,000 to 5,800 beds, but we do not have the possibility of expanding hospitals and staff training takes time,” adds Olivier Véran’s entourage.

But with the increase in severe forms of Covid-19, some hospitals are seeing red. This forces the government to have to announce in the coming hours more restrictive measures, even a new containment. And sign the failure of the strategy “living with the virus” advocated by the executive since the summer?

“There were mistakes, and some were recognized by the president. But the French are realizing the difficulty in governing this country, ”replied the LREM deputy from Paris, Pacôme Rupin. “When we take stock and compare ourselves with other countries in the world, we will not be ashamed of what has been done. 

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